Council Prefers East County Supervisor District

Antioch is currently in the county's 5th supervisorial district.

By Dave Roberts

Antioch and far East County’s philosophical break with Pittsburg over transportation projects may soon become a geopolitical break as well if Antioch’s council members get their wish to no longer share a county supervisorial district with Pittsburg.

On Tuesday night the Antioch council unanimously agreed to leave the county’s 5th supervisorial district, which has included Bethel Island, Oakley, Pittsburg and Bay Point, when new county district lines are drawn to reflect the county’s population shift eastward in the last decade.

Antioch would prefer to be in the 3rd District with far East County. Concept by county staff.

Instead Antioch’s council prefers to join a proposed District 3 alignment that would include Oakley, Bethel Island, Knightsen, Brentwood, Discovery Bay and Byron.

That would place Antioch in a district with a far East County group that has pretty much seen eye-to-eye on funding for transportation projects such as the Highway 4 Bypass, Vasco Road safety improvements, the widening of Highway 4 through Antioch and the extension of an eBART line in the highway median.

That group has also agreed to sue Pittsburg, which has withheld funding for those projects. Pittsburg officials argue that the money should instead go for a western extension of James Donlon Boulevard.

If Antioch’s redistricting wish is granted, it will also portend a significant political change for Antioch residents and their politically ambitious leaders.

District 5 has been governed since 2000 by Supervisor Federal Glover. Now in his third term, Glover, of Pittsburg, has beaten off challenges by Antioch Councilwoman Mary Rocha in 2000, former Oakley Planning Commissioner Erik Nunn in 2004 and Antioch Councilman Gary Agopian in 2008.

District 3 is governed by Mary Nejedly Piepho, of Discovery Bay, who won office in 2004 over the incumbent, Millie Greenberg, and beat off a challenge in 2008 by former Assemblyman Guy Houston. It remains to be seen whether Piepho will run for a third term next year, and if so, whether she’ll be challenged by Agopian or perhaps Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor or Oakley Mayor Jim Frazier, assuming the 3rd District is redrawn the way Antioch prefers.

Antioch Councilman Brian Kalinowski, who also may have supervisorial ambitions, having run last year unsuccessfully for county sheriff, and who represents Antioch on Transplan, cited the transportation funding agreements with far East County cities as a reason to join them in District 3.

“The transportation improvements and projects that we see over the next 10 years fall largely within that geography,” he said. “We also know that Pittsburg in the transportation world doesn’t want to be a regional partner. You want to be partners on regional issues. That makes sense to me.”

Kalinowski and other council members agreed that it also makes geographical sense for Pittsburg to be in a northern county district that extends west to Martinez, Port Costa and Crockett, sharing the waterfront.

The council was also presented with maps developed by the Contra Costa Citizens Redistricting Task Force, chaired by the publisher of the Herald, Allen Payton.  He pointed out that their plan, labeled A2, is the only one that keeps 18 of the 19 cities and 52 of the 53 Census Designated Places, such as Alamo, Bethel Island and Bay Point, whole. Only Concord, the county’s largest city, is split.  He also told the council that the Board of Supervisors, earlier that day, had voted to include the group’s plan in the presentations at the public workshops to be held throughout the county, starting next week.

Antioch’s meeting will be held on Monday, May 23 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Antioch Community Center at Prewett Park in Community Hall C, 4703 Lone Tree Way, across from Deer Valley High.

Agopian said he appreciated the citizen involvement and that any of the proposed maps, whether it be Concept 4 or the citizens’ plan, that places Antioch in an East County district would be acceptable.

On a unanimous vote the council directed staff to send a letter to the Board of Supervisors expressing their desires to keep Antioch whole and in a district with other East County communities of Oakley, Brentwood and Discovery Bay, as Concept 4 and the citizens task force map show. (To view the task force’s map and all four of the county staff’s concept maps,  they’re can be downloaded at the county’s redistricting website, Click on either Maps or Public Input).

In other action, the council:

• Agreed to limit funding for arts and cultural activities to the $18,000 (perhaps less) that comes in from the hotel tax, eliminate funding for watering the lawn at the Antioch Historical Society Museum and to meet with the Lone Tree Golf Course nonprofit board to discuss the $391,000 debt that the board owes and for which the city is obligated.

• Approved federal Community Development Block Grant funding for a variety of local nonprofit social service organizations.

• Gave the thumbs up to an 85-unit senior affordable housing project at James Donlon Boulevard and Tabora Drive.

the attachments to this post:

New District Map

County District Map

New District Map

County District Map

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